Mexico Senate approves a registry to track parents who don’t pay for alimony

To solve the issue of divorced parents who don’t pay for alimony for their children, Mexico will create a registry and a certificate that will be required for a number of procedures.

Mexican child
Illustration | © Marco Antonio Casique Reyes

The Mexican Senate on March 22 voted for a law creating the National Registry of Food Obligations that will record parents who don’t pay for alimony. Mexico will apply several restrictions to the people included in the registry.

The General Law on the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents, previously endorsed by the Chamber of Deputies, was approved unanimously by the Senate with 86 votes in favor. The president now needs to sign on the bill to be officially published and enforced.

The Federal judiciary will provide the information to feed the database recording divorced parents who don’t pay the alimony for their underage children. Only a family judge can remove someone from the registry and a certificate of “non-inclusion” in the database will be required to conduct a number of procedures.

Not being in debt of alimony will be necessary to be a candidate in a public election and apply for a judge or magistrate position at local and federal levels.

The certificate will be necessary for any procedures related to driving licenses, passports, travel and identity documents such as their creation or renewal. Moreover, any alimony debtor or people presenting risks of evading the payment will be banned from leaving the country.

Not paying alimony should make buying or selling real estate or any procedure before a notary impossible. People cannot get married (again) if they already can’t pay alimony they owe.

The president of the Commission on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, Senator Josefina Vázquez Mota, said underage children who don’t receive benefits of the alimony often need to work and drop out of school and tweeted: “No more impunity!” after the results of the vote.

For Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero, the law “is a giant step for the protection of our girls, boys and teenagers.” The former Secretary of Interior under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador justified that the law meets the Mexican State’s obligations to guarantee food for the country’s children and teenagers.

For Mayuli Latifa Martínez Simón, a conservative National Action Party member from the opposition, “it is alarming that children suffer indifference from parents who do not want to be responsible for basic expenses.”

According to divorce statistics from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), alimony is allocated for supporting children in about half of the divorces (48% in 2021) in Mexico.

According to the Population and Housing Census 2020, almost one in three Mexican mothers aged between 15 and 54 years old declared they didn’t live with the father of a child (10% were widows, 9% were separated, 7% were single, and 3% were divorced).

Mexican politicians and media regularly quote the INEGI stating that 67.5% of single mothers do not receive alimony and 3 out of 4 children of separated parents do not receive its benefits (Newsendip could not confirm INEGI actually released these statistics).

The parent must pay for the alimony – and who fails to do so – is almost always the father.

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